TV star Vergara sued by her own embryos

Colombian-born Vergara was in a custody battle with her ex-fiance over two fertilised eggs they created via IVF.
Colombian-born Vergara was in a custody battle with her ex-fiance over two fertilised eggs they created via IVF.

CHICAGO • TV star Sofia Vergara is facing a bizarre lawsuit brought on behalf of two frozen embryos she created with an ex-boyfriend, the subject of a year-long legal battle.

The embryos are listed as plaintiffs "Emma" and "Isabella" in papers filed with a Louisiana court, the New York Post reported. Louisiana is a pro-life state where embryos are given rights as people.

The surprise filing by a trust, apparently established for the embryos, comes as Ms Vergara's ex-fiancee Nick Loeb this week sought to end another lawsuit he had filed against her.

In that suit, the businessman had tried to gain custody of the two fertilised eggs he and Ms Vergara created via in-vitro fertilisation with the aim of bringing them to term.

According to the new lawsuit, not allowing the embryos - currently frozen at a California fertility clinic - to be born is depriving them of their inheritance.

The Colombian-born actress has said she wants to keep the embryos frozen indefinitely.

"A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects," Mr Loeb wrote in April in a New York Times op-ed.

"Shouldn't a man, who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities, be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?"

But the 42-year-old star of sitcom Modern Family insisted last year that she's "doing the right thing" by refusing to sign over custody of the embryos to Mr Loeb.

"Can you blame me?" she said on the Howard Stern Show.

A child brought into the world needs "more than a mother, it needs a loving relationship of parents", she added.

Mr Loeb, 39, signed an agreement with Ms Vergara - America's top-earning TV star - in November 2013 before they proceeded with IVF, stipulating that nothing would be done with the embryos unless both agreed.

However, Mr Loeb sued the actress for custody after their break-up, saying the agreement did not clearly state what would become of the embryos if he and Ms Vergara were to split.

The latest lawsuit has a "chance at some kind of success", thanks to Louisiana's pro-life laws, say legal experts.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'TV star Vergara sued by her own embryos'. Print Edition | Subscribe